Reaching Across the Aisle: The Key to Progress

Across the United States, politicians are making promises to their constituents, but these campaign promises are rarely kept. Little of the partisan legislation that candidates promise actually gets passed, for it is immediately shut down by the opposing party. Instead of the progress they promise, politicians are faced with gridlock. If politicians want to see progress in this country, they must be prepared to reach across the aisle.  



I’m a Democrat - I’m not going to try to hide that. During Tuesday's debate, I excitedly sat down to watch with Twitter pulled up to #democraticdebate and my Democrat pajama pants on. Yes, you read that right - I actually own Democrat pajama pants; in case you were wondering, they’re blue with white donkeys on them, and you can buy them here. As you can tell, I have a strong sense of pride for the democratic party, but despite this pride, I promise that I will attempt to write this essay through a bipartisan lens. And since I’m trying to be bipartisan, I thought I should let you know that you can buy Republican pajamas here.  



In today’s political climate, compromise seems nonexistent. Over time, the ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties have drifted further and further apart with the Democrats becoming more liberal and the Republicans becoming more conservative. Both sides refuse to listen to the other, but if the country is going to progress, politicians must be prepared to reach across the aisle.   

Before I continue, I’m sure it would be helpful to understand what it means to reach across the aisle. The phrase “reaching across the aisle” refers to the literal aisle that separates the Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate chambers. When members of congress “reach across the aisle,” they are reaching over a physical aisle in order to work with members of the opposing party. 


Reaching across the aisle seems to be frowned upon by both parties; in debates, if a more moderate candidate suggests a way to compromise, they are attacked and told they are supporting the other party. I understand that these politicians have strong beliefs, and standing up for one’s beliefs can be a powerful thing - but instead of changing the country for the better, they are preventing progress by creating a gridlock that prevent legislation from being passed. Even if partisan legislation is passed, the opposing party attempts to reverse it once they come into power.



Nonetheless, there is a way to escape this gridlock: compromise. In order to get their own legislation passed, political parties must allow the other side to pass legislation as well. There needs to be a real discussion where politicians actually listen to each other instead of shutting down the other party’s legislation; without it, we will never be able to escape this gridlock. We’ve been taught this lesson since childhood - we need to respect other people’s beliefs. It’s the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. If politicians want their ideas to be respected, there is only one solution - they need to reach across the aisle.


HCXO, Riley  

All images courtesy of Google Images and